EU Conditionality and Balkan Compliance: Does Sovereignty Matter?

by Noutcheva, Gergana

Abstract (Summary)
The Balkan states have all responded to the EUs conditional offer of membership with domestic institutional and policy changes in line with the EU requirements. Yet, there is a remarkable variation among the countries from the region in terms of their formal sovereignty, both with regard to domestic governance independent of external actors (internal sovereignty) and internationally recognized status (external sovereignty). Does sovereignty affect the conditionality-compliance dynamic? The dissertation offers an explanation of how the statehood of a prospective EU member affects the policy and politics of conditionality at EU level and the politics of compliance at domestic level. It argues that in semi-sovereign countries, the EU conditionality can incur higher compliance costs as it can intervene in the sovereignty of an aspiring candidate suggesting a redefinition of internal and/or external statehood structures. The security nature of such interventions has an effect on the EU foreign policy behavior involving two agents of conditionality - the European Commission and the Council and creating risks for inconsistency in EU policy execution. Domestic politics hold the key to compliance with sovereignty-sensitive conditions as the political space tends to be very fragmented and political opposition to EU conditions may arise. In countries where sovereignty is not contested, the EU conditionality prioritizes democratic and economic reforms, the politics of conditionality hides less dangers for incoherence as the EU is inclined to speak with one voice and the politics of compliance are more consensual rendering the compliance trend more sustainable. The dissertation employs the comparative method of analysis and examines the compliance patterns of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Bulgaria as cases representing the full variation along the sovereignty variable. The argument is situated at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. It extends the sovereignty debate in the International Relations (IR) literature to the specificity of the EU relations with the Balkan countries. In so doing it links the IR debate to the Europeanization literature exploring the EUs impact on domestic changes in EU candidate countries. Sovereignty as a variable is neglected in the Europeanization literature and this dissertation is an attempt to address this gap.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Davis B. Bobrow; Alberta Sbragia; Ronald H. Linden

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:public and international affairs


Date of Publication:05/02/2006

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